Wichita schools closed after water main break, boil advisory

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas’ largest city was placed under a water boil order after a large water main break, leading Wichita-area schools to close Friday and prompting residents to make a run on bottled water.

The city issued the advisory Thursday afternoon, affecting its nearly 400,000 residents and some surrounding communities following the break of a 42-inch (107 centimeter) main on Wichita’s north side.

Mayor Brandon Whipple asked residents not to hoard bottled water, but many area store shelves were wiped out of water by late Thursday.

“There’s no indication that we won’t get this fixed in a timely manner, so let’s just use our common sense to move forward and make sure we approach the situation as a community, by not only thinking about ourselves but also our families and our neighbors,” Whipple said at a news conference Thursday.

The advisory was to remain in effect until testing showed the city’s water is safe. Officials hope to be able to lift the order by Saturday or Sunday.

Officials advised residents to boil water before drinking it or using it to cook or for other food or drink preparation. Residents also were warned to throw out ice cubes and to use a teaspoon of bleach per gallon of tap water to wash dishes.

The advisory to boil water does not extend to bathing or showering.

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